Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 194, Issue 1, pp 413–425 | Cite as

An effective greedy heuristic for the Social Golfer Problem

  • Markus TriskaEmail author
  • Nysret Musliu


The Social Golfer Problem (SGP) is a combinatorial optimization problem that exhibits a lot of symmetry and has recently attracted significant attention. In this paper, we present a new greedy heuristic for the SGP, based on the intuitive concept of freedom among players. We use this heuristic in a complete backtracking search, and match the best current results of constraint solvers for several SGP instances with a much simpler method. We then use the main idea of the heuristic to construct initial configurations for a metaheuristic approach, and show that this significantly improves results obtained by local search alone. In particular, our method is the first metaheuristic technique that can solve the original problem instance optimally. We show that our approach is also highly competitive with other metaheuristic and constraint-based methods on many other benchmark instances from the literature.


Sports scheduling Combinatorial optimization Design theory Finite geometry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Database and Artificial Intelligence GroupVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria

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